Do Wandering Bees Help Spread Disease? Animals Biology 

Do Wandering Bees Help Spread Disease?

By Emily Rhode @riseandsci Given the continued growth of the human population, it’s no surprise that our behaviors impact plants and animals. But what might be alarming are the ways we harm these species. Habitat loss and pesticide use have been shown to have devastating effects on pollinator populations worldwide, but researchers from the University of Toronto have found a new and unexpected way that humans are killing off bumblebees. And according to their study, the potential for bee deaths will only get worse as our demand for pollinated crops…

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Reusable Lab on a Chip Costs One Cent Health Technology 

Reusable Lab on a Chip Costs One Cent

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Scientists have developed a reusable lab on a chip (LOC) that can be printed using an inkjet printer at an unprecedented cost of one cent. This biochip has the potential to revolutionize health care in developing countries by allowing for the early diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and cancer. Using small samples, the LOC platform can be used to rapidly detect such diseases by isolating and characterizing rare cells and molecules. Poor access to early diagnostic equipment results in increased breast…

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Plant Bacteria Thrive in Wet Weather Biology Botany 

Plant Bacteria Thrive in Wet Weather

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Plants need water to grow. But too much water isn’t good for them either. Scientists have found that excessive rain and high humidity levels allow disease-causing bacteria to attack plants by creating a moist environment that makes them more susceptible to bacterial infections. When conditions are right, plants can be infected with bacteria, viruses, and fungi. While scientists and farmers have long known that wet weather and long periods of high humidity can increase the risk of crops getting diseases, the exact mechanisms have so far…

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Nests, Neurons, and the Evolution of Behavior. How and Why Do Brain Cells Die? Biology Health 

How and Why Do Brain Cells Die?

By Norman Rusin @normanrusin Chaining Proteins May Free Brain Cells from Disease How did the king of Corinth, Sisyphus, outwit the god of death, Thanatos? By using the god’s own chains. When it was Sisyphus’s time to die, Zeus ordered Thanatos to chain Sisyphus up in Tartarus, the kingdom of the dead. King Sisyphus slyly asked Thanatos to demonstrate how the chains worked. As Thanatos was granting him his wish, Sisyphus seized the opportunity and trapped Thanatos in the chains instead. Once the god of death was bound by the…

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Dichroa febrifuga, a medicinal herb that has been historically used to treat fever, is named for its active ingredient, febrifugine. By Keith Edkins (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons Biology Chemistry 

Malaria Drugs: Herb Garden to Medicine Cabinet

By Bill Sullivan, PhD @wjsullivan We live on a lush planet filled with over 290,000 species of plants. Herbs are a particular type of plant that lack a wooden stem, and humans have often sampled them in hopes of finding a new food or flavoring. Sometimes ingestion of an herb produces unwanted effects, such as death. But other herbs have medicinal qualities, such as the alleviation of fever.  An Old and New Malaria Drug Dichroa febrifuga is one of the most important herbs in traditional Chinese medicine, used for millennia…

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bat Animals Health 

Hotspots of Bat-Human Virus Transmission

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Since the turn of the century, we’ve already been gripped by three major outbreaks of new diseases—SARS in China, MERS in the Middle East, and Ebola in Africa—that have had devastating social and economic effects. Wouldn’t it be helpful if we could predict where the next emerging infectious disease is likely to occur? Now, we are a step closer. Scientists have mapped high-risk regions, termed hotspots, for the transmission of viruses from bats to humans, based on several driving factors including bushmeat hunting and population density. “We…

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antibioticsStaphylococcus aureus (Public Domain photo by Janice Haney Carr, Matthew J. Arduino, DRPH, USCDCP) Biology Health 

Searching for Alternatives to Antibiotics

By Steven Spence Biological Arms Race Modern, effective antibiotics were only discovered and widely used in the 20th century. The most famous antibiotic discovery was penicillin (Fleming, et al 1928), which only began to be used from 1942 onwards by the Allied Forces during World War II. It had a huge impact on the treatment of infections due to bacteria, but bacteria rapidly developed resistance to penicillin. Scientists and medical researchers identified more antibiotics, but over time bacteria became resistant to them, too. Today it is common to see news…

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